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SFO “Operation Steamroller” returns additional £1 million to more than 200 victims

28 April, 2022 | News Releases

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) will be returning over £1 million to more than 200 victims, following one of the largest boiler room frauds ever pursued by a UK authority.

The SFO’s seven year investigation, codenamed Operation Steamroller, led to the successful prosecution of Australian national and mastermind of the fraud, Jeffrey Revell-Reade in 2014. He was sentenced to nine years and six months in prison and handed a total confiscation order of approximately £7.5 million.

Since 2016, the SFO has been relentlessly pursuing the enforcement of Revell-Reade’s confiscation order, attempting to recoup his illicit gains to compensate his victims. Over £3 million has already been returned to the circa 200 victims, and with the help of international partners in Spain, the SFO has now succeeded in securing new compensation funds via the settlement of a luxury penthouse apartment in the Costa del Sol.

Between 2003 and 2007 UK investors were conned out of around £70m under a boiler room scheme masterminded by Revell-Reade. The scheme saw sales entities – operating from Madrid – pressure-sell shares in US-listed companies. Investors bought the shares, the sale of which was restricted for 12 months, and when they came to sell they found their shares to be worthless, as they belonged to either shell companies or companies that were not operating at all.

After being informed of the latest compensation, a delighted victim wrote to the SFO saying: “I dropped a tear. Being caught up in that boiler room scam has had, and continues to have, an impact on my life. I don’t think anyone can even begin to imagine the overall impact on the individual that these frauds cause.

“I am so grateful to the SFO for pursuing and continuing to pursue these criminals across the different countries.”

 Emma Luxton, Head of Proceeds of Crime and International Assistance at the Serious Fraud Office, said: “This result demonstrates our tenacity and commitment to ensuring victims receive the justice and compensation they deserve, no matter the complexity of the investigation or how many years have passed since the crime was committed.” 


Notes for editors:

  • A boiler room fraud involves a business, often from overseas, persistently pushing the urgent sale of over-valued or even worthless shares in a company.
  • Operation Steamroller was conducted with the assistance of the City of London Police and spanned multiple international jurisdictions.
  • The value of the fraud is estimated to be £70.2m or $119m ($108m + £6m).
  • Revell-Reade’s confiscation order was calculated according to his financial gain from the fraud and an assessment of his realisable assets. The total value of the confiscation order does not always equate to the ultimate realisable value of those assets.  
  • Revell-Reade was among nine individuals convicted in relation to Operation Steamroller. For more information, please see the press release here.